Hopes, Fears and Poodle Rock

April 13, 2011

“It’s the final countdown. Da-da-daaa-da. Da-da-da-da-da. Da-da-daaa-da. Da-da-da-da-da”.  So sang poodle haired Swedish rock buffoons, Europe.  (They’ve had EIGHT studio albums, by the way, including one as recently as 2009 which got to number 1 in the Swedish album charts. What the hell is wrong with people!)

Anyhow, my incoherent rambling is vaguely relevant to this post as I am in the very final countdown to what will be the most difficult physical challenge I have ever faced.  In a couple of days, I will be attempting to complete the London Marathon. Along with 35,000 other loons I will be running 26.2 miles through the streets of London.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of my feelings, hopes and fears for the big day.

First and foremost, I am incredibly excited about Sunday. Every time I hear the famous BBC marathon theme tune the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  I’m driving the missus mad by constantly humming the tune. Badly. I watched this video yesterday and got so wound up, I swear a tiny bit of pee came out:

People talk about being nervous or scared ahead of the marathon.  Just read the tweets with the #LondonMarathon hashtag, and you’ll experience more fear than Charlie Sheen in a monastery.  However, I know it’s going to hurt like hell. I expect it to hurt like hell. I am ready for it to hurt like hell. So, what else is there to be scared of? I’ve been giving this some thought, and all it really comes down to is this:

For various personal reasons I know I will never be in this shape again, and may never even attempt a marathon again. I therefore feel I have one chance to execute. One chance to give the performance my training deserves. One chance to post as good a time as possible.

The biggest threat to this is my knee injury. The missed training will definitely slow me down, and at some stage, it’s going to start hurting.  The second biggest threat right now is the weather which is forecast to be warm and sunny. This is very bad news!

My target time when I began my 16 week training programme was 3 hours and 30 minutes. Right now, I would take that in a heartbeat.  Six weeks ago, when I crossed the finish line in the Bath Half marathon in under 90 minutes, without the benefit of a taper, and with several weeks of training still to come, I secretly started to believe that a marathon time of 3:15 might be possible, if everything fell into place.  That ship has well and truly sailed!

The training schedule I have been following has produced fantastic results, with every warm up race proving quicker and easier than I expected.  As a result of the injury I have had to deviate so far from the schedule over the past six weeks, I no longer know what I’m capable of on Sunday. This means I don’t know what my starting pace should be.  I have an idea in my head, but I’ll be keeping that to myself!

Of course, many disasters could occur, each of which could prevent me finishing, or even starting, but statistically these are unlikely.

So, let’s imagine that I set off too fast, and my knee injury kicks in, and I suffer in the heat, and I have to hobble round part of the course resulting in a much slower time than expected. If this happens, I’ll still have completed the London marathon, a notion I would have dismissed as utterly impossible a year ago. I’ll also still have had an amazing, emotional day, experienced wonderful support from friends and strangers alike, and be pretty damn proud of myself.

On top of all that, I will have raised a fantastic sum of money for the brilliant charity IT4CH.  I see no reason to be modest about this as it is all down to the staggering generosity of you lot – my friends and family. If, by any chance, you haven’t had a chance to sponsor me yet, there is still time! Click here, and see if you can help me get to a mind blowing £2,000.

If I have time to post again before the race, I have some facts and figures for you regarding the marathon and my training.  One for the stattos.

Right, I’m off to get some pasta.

Bring on the hurt!

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